By Mike Fisher

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FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) – There are no wrong answers for those who participate in the football trenches. There are only wrong answers from those who judge from afar.

At the end of last college football season, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith sustained suffered a knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, causing a loss of feel in his nerves and dropping him from a top-five pick to the second round (where he was a surprise selection of the Dallas Cowboys).

Forget any insurance policy Smith has; the decision to play in an “amateur’’ football game cost him millions of dollars — and may have cost him a chance to play professional football, as there is only “medical hope’’ that he ever participates again.

And yet, Jaylon expresses no regrets, tweeting this week, “Honestly, with everything I’ve been through, If I could go back to Jan. 1st, I’d play again.”

Smith’s tweet is a reflection on the decisions coming from Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and LSU running back Leonard Fournette to skip their teams’ bowl games prepare for their NFL careers. These seem like sound business decisions, even as they conflict with the words of Smith and the words of Smith’s Cowboys teammate Ezekiel Elliott, who played for Ohio State in that Fiesta Bowl against Jaylon’s Notre Dame squad and himself tweeted, “I would do anything to play one more time with my brothers in that scarlet and gray … One last time to honor your university and one last chance to play with your boys who will be your brothers for life. … I just know how much I loved my university and the guys I played with. My last game was the most memorable moment from my college career.’’

Elliott and Smith aren’t “calling out’’ the college kids; they’re simply expressing views that they’ve earned. No, the conflict comes from the “unnamed NFL assistant GM’’ who hid behind anonymity to tell Bleacher Report, “They are selfish p———.”

The fact is, nobody who plays college football at the highest level is anything of the sort. If anybody is a “p——,’’ is the NFL executive who can muster up enough misplaced machismo to criticize kids in the trenches from behind a desk … but who won’t come out from behind his desk to attach his name, on the record, to such a boldly ignorant statement.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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